From food to tools to a rocket motor, PEPC provides financial backing for college student organizations

Purdue Engineering Presidents' Council awarded $12,600 in funding during the 2023 fall semester to assist College of Engineering student organizations.

Purdue Engineering Presidents’ Council (PEPC) awarded $12,600 in funding during the 2023 fall semester to assist College of Engineering student organizations.

students working in a lab
Purdue Orbital was one of 21 engineering student organizations to receive funding from the Purdue Engineering Presidents' Council. (Photo provided)

Each term, through an application and interview process conducted by College of Engineering administrators and PEPC student leadership, several organizations receive money to conduct and attend events, purchase equipment and participate in projects that are beneficial to the engineering community.

In total, 21 organizations applied for funding for the current semester, with requests ranging from $300 to $8,700. While none received the full amount desired, all 21 were selected to receive appropriations.

“The caliber of applications was stellar,” said Griffin Laihinen, a senior in environmental and ecological engineering who is a PEPC facilitator alongside Ben Pekarek, a senior in electrical and computer engineering.

During the interviews, Laihinen and Pekarek verified that the applicants’ plans for the funding included two of the college’s overarching goals: transferring knowledge between students and fostering a positive culture in which collaboration, leadership and skill building and community can flourish.

“From technical to professional to cultural clubs with the college, there are so many groups providing opportunities for growth,” Laihinen said.

Liquidity of funds within most student organizations is a challenge, Laihinen said, adding that the majority of groups don’t have money and resources to accomplish goals beyond the basic requirements, let alone the means to make members’ experiences more equitable, enjoyable and inclusive.

“This funding creates the capacity for organizations to spend money on incentives like food that lead to quality time, comradery and mentorship,” Laihinen said. “It also creates the capacity for groups to have better access and engagement, such as a technical team being able to purchase tools to provide hands-on experiences to more students at the same time.”

PEPC plans to continue providing financial assets in future semesters.

The awardees

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Intended use: Catering

Goal: Offer food and drinks to entice professors, alumni and senior mentors to attend and participate in professional development events likely to benefit the group’s members

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Intended use: Tools and equipment for the new mechanical engineering organization storage facility for use in the manufacturing process of the school’s eight design teams

Goal: Provide members with the best resources available to enable them to exercise creative freedom and bring ideas to life through the lens of engineering.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Intended use: Neurotech Committee’s current electroencephalogram (EEG) project

Goal: Construction of a fully functioning 128-channel EEG that will allow creation of brain-machine interfaces. 

Biomedical Engineering Society

Intended use: Programming committees and mentorship program

Goals: Organize a diverse range of events and activities to promote collaboration and networking between members to improve retention and attendance; hold additional networking meetings to increase time spent between mentors and mentees to enhance relationships; serve refreshments.

Purdue Space Program – Active Controls

Intended use: Purchase vital components and hardware for a fire-breathing rocket, which is on the frontier of collegiate vertical take-off and vertical landing (VTVL) technology

Goal: Members gain skills and experiences to excel in their careers and classes.

Purdue Space Program – Satellites

Intended use: Research and development for altitude, determination and control systems (ADCS) card development project; purchase required tools to connect the hardware and allow power and data to be transmitted from the card to the computer and vice versa

Goal: Create a set of tools that will be used while living and working in space with the long-term vision to apply ideas of in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing through an interchangeable toolhead.

Purdue Space Program – NASA Student Launch

Intended use: This year’s competition launch vehicle, specifically the motors and materials for the airframes.

Goal: Return to competition and place high with a more competitive launch vehicle that utilizes the team’s advanced design techniques.

Purdue Space Program – High Altitude

Intended use: Skyshot rocket motor

Goal: Launch the Skyshot, the group’s next altitude record-breaking rocket, during spring break 2024.

Purdue Space Program – Liquids

Intended use: Partially fund propellant tank for the next liquid rocket

Goal: Empower members to turn their designs into reality, moving the team closer to its goal of breaking the collegiate liquid rocketry altitude record of 65,000 feet.

Formula SAE

Intended use: Engine modifications for the team's 2024 vehicle

Goals: Enable the team to be more competitive, efficient and powerful at competitions; member development; hands-on learning opportunity for internal engine development not seen anywhere else on campus.

Baja SAE

Intended use: Fabrication cost for manufacturing the chassis for this year’s car

Goal: Provide hands-on experiences for students of all majors and experience levels; allow students to use their new-found engineering knowledge to construct a vehicle from the ground up.

Purdue Solar Racing

Intended use: Resin infusion workshop

Goal: Teach new members how to utilize the composite manufacturing process called resin infusion, providing valuable knowledge in composites, manufacturing, plastics and general chemistry.

3D Printed Prosthetics

Intended use: Printer powder

Goal: Having recently acquired a novel 3D printer that requires expensive fill materials for printing, the group will complete the purchase and make the printer available for other organizations on campus. The ultimate goal is to foster collaborations with other students.

Vertical Flight Systems Purdue

Intended use: Prototype testing of group’s second iteration vehicle

Goal: Gather data from a singular component of aerospace/propulsion testing to predict how the team’s entire vehicle will perform and if any design modifications are necessary.

Purdue Aerial Robotics Team 

Intended use: Equipment and hardware, software development, research and development, administrative expenses, community outreach events, educational initiatives, safety measures, competitions and events, maintenance and upkeep and club operation

Goal: Aid the team’s mission – “Mature students into principled industry leaders for their post-undergraduate careers by executing a comprehensive industry standard approach to interdisciplinary design, prototyping and systems engineering.”

Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers

Intended use: Attend the SASE National Conference in Atlanta

Goal: For the first time in its nearly 10 years of existence on the Purdue campus, participate in both the conference portion and career fair at the event; bring a stronger Purdue presence and potentially open up more opportunities for members.

Electric Vehicle Club

Intended use: Replace, update and upgrade the club’s current set of tools.

Goal: Enhance projects focused on an electric motorcycle, four electric go-karts and a custom EV design; sweep the top three places in the evGrand Prix.

Purdue Lunabotics

Intended use: Support the group’s initiatives; catering for lectures and training sessions; catering and promotional materials for critical design review event

Goals: Improve members’ technical abilities through knowledge transfer and unique hands-on experiences; provide food incentives to attract faculty and other students to attend Critical Design Reviews and provide feedback.

Autonomous Robotics Club

Intended use: Promotional/branding materials and functional items for the club’s operations and outreach efforts

Goal: Create visually appealing stickers, buttons and a vertical banner featuring the club’s logo; distribute materials at events, workshops and activities to enhance visibility on campus and within the robotics community.

Purdue Orbital

Intended use: Building materials for rockets

Goal: Provide opportunity for students to learn about rocketry by building their own rockets and launching them; certify 20 members in the National Association of Rocketry.

American Institute of Chemical Engineers 

Intended use: Financial assistance for 29th Annual Industrial Roundtable banquet

Goal: Make the event accessible for all by lowering student ticket prices; attract a more diverse set of students to the event.